Noel Hill was born in Caherea in West County Clare, Ireland, into a big family with 7 siblings. His parents and grandparents were all concertina players. He was particularly influenced by his uncle, Padraig A Chnoic, (Paddy Hill). He lived in a house which was the last house in the area to hold the traditional Irish house dance, where musicians were always welcomed; particularly towards the end of the year when farm work was done. It was at these events that he learned his early tunes, rather than from the radio, books or records.
Hill has been a professional concertinist since the late 1970s. He joined up with Tony Linnane, Tony Callanan and Kieran Hanrahan to form the group Inchiquin. They recorded one album. Hanrahan and Callanan then left to form Stockton's Wing. His most celebrated album is "Noel Hill and Tony Linnane" (1979) with Tony Linnane (fiddle), Matt Molloy (flute), Alec Finn (bouzouki and mando-cello) and Micheal O'Domhnaill (church harmonium). Inchiquin continued with Noel, Tony and Barry Moore (Luka Bloom) and toured Germany.
The Pogues wrote the tune, "Planxty Noel Hill" in response to his criticism of their band during a radio interview; the tune appeared on their 1986 Poguetry in Motion EP.
Hill has toured worldwide including Europe, United States, Canada, China, Hong Kong, and Australia. He teaches concertina at the The Noel Hill Irish Concertina Schools in Ireland and throughout the United States. He now lives with his two children in Connemara in the Irish-speaking region of southwest County Galway.